Full disclosure, I'd never heard of a paczki until I moved here a couple years ago. In fact, I still wonder if I'm even pronouncing it correctly when I say it out loud. Regardless, I'll have to be confident in it, as Paczkis on Fat Tuesday are about as Pure Michigan as it gets.

New Orleans has Mardi Gras, Rio has Carnivale, and various places around the world have their own traditional celebrations before Lent begins. But for Michigan, it's all about the dense, heavy, filled donuts. But Why? How did the Paczki become such a huge Michigan Tradition?

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For those unfamiliar, a Paczki (more commonly pronounced "Poonsh-kee" ) are a very fatty, and sugary donut that is often served around Fat Tuesday as a treat before the Christian Lent Season.

What is a Paczki?

The pastry is traditional to Polish Culture, but in major cities in Poland, they're served year-round. In Michigan, they're seen as a treat before fasting for Lent. The idea is, you clear your pantries of all of the lard, sugar, and other "bad stuff" so you can fast, or cut out decadent foods for the next 40 days, leading up to Easter.

So how did a Polish traditional pastry become such an anchor for Michigan? Thank migrating Polish immigrants for that.

Polish Influence on Michigan's Paczki Day

The city of Wyandotte, actually, which is right along the Detroit river, was the first Polish settlement in Michigan. The population in 1940 had grown to about 35,000, and around 9,000 were Polish with neighboring communities also producing growing Polish neighborhoods.

Detroit became a hub for Polish immigration west, and a large portion of them settled in the area, bringing their traditions with them, including... Paczki Day.

So why, then, do we consider Paczki Day such a "Pure Michigan" event? Because our Polish Community is a huge part of Michigan, and we celebrate our diverse culture with big displays of affection.

They may also celebrate in New York, and Chicago... but neither of those states dedicate their entire day to these amazing Polish Pastries.

Happy Paczki Day.

Five Best Places To Buy Paczki’s In Kalamazoo And Battle Creek

The Battle Creek/Kalamazoo area has five bakeries that offer deep-fried paczki's, fresh from the kettle. They are guaranteed to get the humble Lenten food refugee through at least a third of the fasting journey. 

Gallery Credit: Brad Carpenter

These Are The Best Bakeries In Michigan To Buy Paczki For Fat Tuesday

You can buy these delectables from the following bakeries before most likely giving sweets up for lent. Whether you are in Metro Detroit, West, Michigan, mid-Michigan, northern Michigan, or even the upper peninsula.

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